Youth SIG-YCIG sessions: Check the outcomes!

Article written by Mohammad Atif Aleem, Elnur Karimov and Eileen Cejas.

Youth SIG co organised this year with the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) three workshop proposals to the Internet Governance Forum. Read our reviews below:

WS #139 CopyLeft or Right? Mediating Interests in Academic Databases (check the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of Issues: 

Mr Thierry talked about how the private sector also promotes open access policies, complementing the social purpose of the companies with its aim. The sharing of data between the public and private sectors has always been done, approaching some government initiatives that facilitate this sharing. In pandemic times, while it’s possible to go after more profits, it seems wiser to private sectors agents to try to be more flexible to make it easier to fight pandemic-related issues.

Ms Mariana Valente spoke about the importance of opening academic databases to civil society. She talked about how digital technologies created the possibility of sharing knowledge and works, but this didn’t come with the legal possibility of sharing, because copyright law posed some barriers. She mentioned that open licenses are not enough, and the academic ecosystem needs to have an active role to stimulate open access, recognizing and promoting these type of initiatives.

Mr Elnur Karimov pointed out how the theme of the session is especially relevant to the youth. He remembered how youth starting to research have great barriers in getting access to protected academic texts, mostly because they do not have the same level of access or the same financial resources as older researchers have.

Ms Vivian Moya presented how the government can help to develop access and mediating the involved interests. She started with a brief introduction about how copyright works (and what are its aims) around the world, with higher or lower levels of copyright protection depending on national legislation.

Key Takeaways: 

The session reached a consensus on the need for providing tools to facilitate open access and open knowledge.

The private sectors shouldn’t seem like the enemy here, since there are also many initiatives in this sector to reinforce open access to academic databases. Governments also have a role in diminishing costs and expenses to commercial companies that work with these types of databases.

Academia has a particularity, which is that authors and readers are commonly part of the same group because one needs to research from other works to produce their own. There’s less interest from authors in financial returns, and more interest in being recognized by others. The pandemic showed us the importance of open science and how it can be effectively used to fight against pressing issues, and how actors from different sectors can work together to achieve a similar objective.


WS #105 Designing inclusion policies in Internet Governance (check the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of issues:

Ms. Eileen Cejas talked about the gender aspects within inclusion while drafting policy making related to the inclusion of women, girls and gender diverse people at equally footing.She highlighted the importance of “one size does not fit all”, therefore it is essential to consider multicultural backgrounds. In this way, most of the changes related to gender matters start from online discussions and later they create a change on societies. Therefore, advocacy is essential to accomplish it: on one hand she mentioned the BPF Gender and Access Report (link) and on the other hand  the Youth4DigitalSustainability program and its recommendation to policy makers on gender from youth: “Women and gender diverse people are facing restrictions in accessing information and participating meaningfully. To establish healthy and equal societies, youths should urge governments and civil societies to guarantee the rights to freedom of online expression for these communities.”

Ms. Debora Barletta addressed the topic of rural, indigenous and remote areas into digital literacy. She remarked the idea that policies should take into account the intersectional approach and the diverse needs of these communities, because currently governments’ solutions are focused on connectivity plans, and these communities don’t accept these measures because they aren’t community based solutions. Thus, the said  communities should be involved internally on the development of technical and human solutions related to digital literacy with a bottom up approach. Finally she concluded this type of solution is meant to increase the competencies of these communities and their sense of agency in this policy.

Ms. Mamadou Lo spoke on the topic of cost to access as it isn’t affordable in many parts of the world, which also applied to data packages in low income economies. These challenges should be fixed through policy and regulatory framework. As Mamadou said “A really competitive digital market, I think has to be answered by Government among all of the stakeholders and NGOs.” He also mentioned the problem of moratorium on taxation for organizations: this moratorium is still being implemented however private companies don’t pay taxes, which could be use to bring more connectivity to people in developing countries.

Ms. Meri Baghdasaryan addressed the topic of governments, and how they ensure human rights in terms of inclusion in three points. On one side, governments must guarantee digital rights need by providing in a first place access to Internet. The second point comprises digital literacy, in which she stated “by enhancing the level of digital literacy, the Governments actually create a solely base for safeguarding various aspects of rights and also in a way they are actually preventing further issues.” The third point of Meri’s input was about implementing sound policies regarding misinformation, especially on the context of the pandemic. She concluded by saying the role of governments is participating more actively in the multistakeholder process. 

Key Takeaways:

High level policy makers should address inclusion from a holistic way, as in the current situation inclusion is analysed and delimited towards specific target groups (women, girls, rural) though it is not consider multicultural backgrounds and diverse perspectives of each community.

 In the case of of gender diverse people, governments should design policies that creates a welcome space for them in order to participate fully in the Internet Governance ecosystem: digital literacy programs, anti harassment policies and a broad discussion of gender topics including transparency in AI programs.

Regarding accessibility, governments should support other stakeholders on the design and application of accessibility-by-default policies: there are several communities part of the persons with disabilities  with different requirements that should be taken in consideration for the improvement of societies.

Participants of the session realised inclusion frame a wide range of issues,  although they agreed we can start the conversation from the 5 selected topics we chose for the session: women and gender diverse; persons with disabilities; rural and urban communities; governments and human rights.  The conclusion emerged from the session was the relevance of  ensuring the protection of digital rights, helping people understand their digital rights and how to advocate for them.     

Moving forward…

The outcome of the session will include the launch of an online campaign on the topics on Inclusion discussed at the session in our social media channels. Stay tuned for more!


WS #273 Enhancing sustainable computing, production & consumption (read the report at the IGF website and Geneva Internet Platform)

Summary of the Session:

As per the research in recent times, the current production models are seriously impacting the economy, environment, and the society at large. The digitalisation of the economy is no exception. How will these effects change the course of sustainable computing, production and consumption in the future was largely the core topic of discussion at the session. Ms Ece Vural (International Relations Department Manager, Habitat Association and moderator for the event) asked the session panellists five main policy questions which address how newer ways of computing and digital advances can improve the sustainability of current productions models and benefit society. First of all, it is important that we define the concept of sustainable computing and make society understand that there are ways to optimise and reduce the energy consumption of the existing computer infrastructure. The context setting in this regard was done by giving some background of the topic and explaining the status quo.

Ms Jaewon Son (Committee Member, Korea Internet Governance Alliance) explained how Korea is increasing its investment in the economy, especially towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and businesses that provide online services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She shared her personal professional experiences in regards to the advancement of sustainability  work.  Mr Daniel Jr Dasig (Associate Professor, De La Salle University Dasmarinas) explained that the geography of innovation continues to shift, and the sustainability of computing is an issue that affects both developed and developing countries. He stressed upon the need for a strong curriculum at University level and adoption of green lifestyle as well. Mr Mohammad Atif Aleem (Regional Engagement Director for Asia Pacific Group, Youth Special Interest Group, Internet Society) clarified that sustainable consumption is about doing more and better with less. He added that information and communications technology (ICT) penetration is still a challenge in many developing countries. This is especially relevant when addressing the climate change challenge. For example, in the sub-Saharan region, there is still a lack of meteorological stations, and hence a scope for technology to assess the risks related to the Climate. He advocated for a positive use of technology and balancing the trade-offs between sustainability and profits for organizations. Ms Chineyenwa Okoro Onu (Founder and Managing Director, Waste or Create Hub) stressed the importance of putting people first and equipping them with information and knowledge. Education being a key component to understand the complexities of such issues, needs to be taken seriously right from the budding stage, and some valuable case studies were highlighted as discussed in the session.

Furthermore key takeaways were drawn and the ways to mitigate environmental constraints and lead a green lifestyle through different means, digital empowerment, ways of gender inclusion and education were highlighted with relevant examples.

The key takeaways of the Session were:

– Insights on how SDGs 9, 12, 11 and 13 can be fostered digitally and lower the impact on the environment

– Potential that digital technology offers in the field of production and consumption

– Role of quality education in enhancing sustainable initiatives

– Information on how gender equality can be promoted through digital ways, and in the associated SDGs for equitable distribution and representation

– Information on Sustainable Computing and digital advances to improve the sustainability

Summaries of attended IGF sessions by IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020 – Daphne Stevens

Summaries of attended IGF sessions by IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020 – Daphne Stevens

IGF 2020 Pre-Event #62 Digital Sovereignty for States, Nations, or Users? An insight into the Polish Charter of Digital Sovereignty.

2 November 2020

The panelist of this talk was Jan Zygmuntowski, who works for the Polish think-tank Instrat. Instrat has created the Polish Charter of Digital Sovereignty, which can be seen as the Polish version of the Digital Services Act. They have been talking with different actors (companies, citizens, the government), where they encountered different perspectives regarding digital sovereignty.

When establishing the Polish Charter of Digital Sovereignty, they have had different achievements. A coalition was established for this subject, where actors from different fields are involved.

They have also organized a Digital Detox Day in Poland. Smaller communities find it very difficult to have an impact on digital sovereignty, and the coalition has aimed to show that this is possible. This has led more people to start believing in this as well. Currently, they are participating in different European consultations regarding digital sovereignty, and they keep advocating.

In the Charter, the coalition fights for:

  • Greater efficiency for tax collection.
  • Effective protection of Polish consumers and small and medium enterprises.
  • Extended powers for national authorities.
  • Greater transparency on digital markets.
  • The creation of common data spaces and socially beneficial AI.

The coalition also supports different EU initiatives that aim to modernise the platform-to-business regulation.

During the session, different questions were asked by the attendees. One attendee asked what impact the Charter will have on the free Internet. Jan stated that it mostly affects national commerce. However, it may boost innovation as well, for example through standard-setting.

Another attendee asked what he uses of a Polish Digital Services Act would be if an EU Digital Services Act is created. It is currently unclear what the EU Digital Services Act will look like. The Polish Charter aims to boost the national authority. It is a temporary action when better EU law is created, the Polish law will be retracted. Furthermore, the Polish Charter could be another nudge towards Brussels to take steps on the subject of digital sovereignty.

IGF 2020 Pre-Event #10 An open discussion about tackling terrorist and violent extremist content with the Global Internet Forum to Counter-Terrorism.

2 November 2020

The moderator of this discussion was Nicholas Rasmussen from the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism (GIFCT). The panelists were Ghayda Hassan (professor on radicalization), Albert Antwi-Boasiako (national cybersecurity advisor in Ghana), and Dina Hussein (Facebook). 

GIFCT was established by Facebook, Microsoft, Youtube, and Twitter with the aim to tackle misuse by terrorists and extremists. There are 4 pillars:

  • Share knowledge (also with smaller tech companies).
  • Share technology (hashes, URLs, programs to match videos and images).
  • Research.
  • Crisis response. This pillar was established in response to the Christchurch attack.

Furthermore, an independent advisory committee (IAC) was established. GIFCT finds it very important to bring together different stakeholders from all over the world to deal with the content issues of terrorism and extremism.

According to Ghayda Hassan, a major issue at the moment is the closing of the minds. Leaders become more and more masters in instilling fear, which has a big impact on individuals. The Internet has a big influence on this, it creates a space for acting out. Users are no longer exposed to complex, nuanced voices. For this reason, stakeholders such as governments and tech/social media companies should be responsible and accountable. It is important to act proactively.

The moderator asked the panelists what could be possible outputs of the GIFCT. One aim is to expand further than just the persons on the UN terrorist list, looking at extremism as well. For this reason, it is of great importance to be transparent and to clearly define what is understood as extremism (also, who will be involved in creating this definition). Furthermore, the IAC currently has an advisory role, which should be broader.

The advice has to be seriously considered. The industry should look broader than just the economic-political considerations, they should also look at the impact. True and sincere engagement is necessary. A final output that was mentioned by the panelists was to share knowledge, for example through the creation of guidelines for governments.

Lastly, the question was asked how to manage the balance with fundamental human rights. The policies on content moderation should be transparent and publicly accessible. It is important to work together with other stakeholders and to engage with different communities.

There needs to be educated on what freedom of expression is, as this is often misunderstood. Clear definitions are necessary. Facebook uses three pillars when conducting content moderation, namely safety, privacy, and voice. The cultural context plays an important role here as well. They also invest in partnerships with experts on this topic.

IGF 2020 Pre-Event #83 Agile State – opportunities and threats. How is the role of the state changing in digital reality?

3 November 2020

This was a discussion regarding how the role of the state changes in digital reality. COVID-19 has changed the way governments look at digital programs. There are more possibilities in COVID-19-time, and it has also become easier to implement these possibilities. Furthermore, governments have realized the importance and value of data and Big Data.

This may change the way that we provide healthcare for example. It brings forward opportunities, but also risks, such as privacy concerns and disinformation. COVID-19 can be seen as a wake-up call: “We can open doors that were closed before.”

Key technological opportunities and challenges for states were discussed as well, such as more of a focus on the needs of citizens (focus on the user-experience) while using technologies and using the data the government has in other ways as well. However, the increased use of technologies leads to questions regarding privacy, data, and cybersecurity.

There is a need for a better, basic understanding of technology. Governments have to become more flexible and efficient, with hopefully more technologists as well. This can lead to new collaborations. There is room for optimism!

IGF 2020 NRIs Collaborative Session: Cybersecurity local policies and standards

4 November 2020

This collaborative session of NRIs was focused on cybersecurity. First, a discussion took place about the situation regarding cybersecurity in different countries.

  • A panelist from Brazil talked about the situation there. Different actors need to be involved in cybersecurity. There are more than 40 cybersecurity response teams, which are active in different sectors. There is a focus on training, capacity-building, and continued cooperation.
  • Then a panelist from North-Macedonia took the floor. Before 2016, there was no concrete capacity regarding cybersecurity. In 2016, a critical response team was established. Now there is a national cybersecurity strategy, which consists of different components. They took a multi-stakeholder approach. The capacity has been increased over the years.
  • Then the situation in Chad was discussed. Chad is dealing with cyber-criminals and cyber-terrorists, which is a challenge to security. The cybersecurity capacity is at an early stage, there is, for example, no response team or strategy yet. Different actors are victims of cyberattacks. They are in this session to learn from other countries.
  • A panelist from France explained the situation in his country. Cybersecurity is a cornerstone of the digital agenda there. It is of great importance to raise awareness and strengthen educational programs. They have implemented different EU Directives (Nice Directive, GDPR). They also engage with the Council of Europe and other international efforts (such as the Paris Call and the Christchurch Call).
  • A panelist from Albania explained the situation in her country. There are many recent developments with regards to cybersecurity policy and law. The objective is to fully transpose the Nice Directive in national legislation. They focus on capacity-building and training. Albania receives support from many international actors, both in the region as internationally.

Then a discussion took place regarding the question of how international cooperation could be improved. It is of great importance to foster a multi-stakeholder approach (such as through the Paris Call). Stakeholders have to provide support for training and capacity building. It is also important to share information among stakeholders, with the aim to improve transparency.

Lastly, the question was asked how the culture around cybersecurity could be built, in order to get more people involved. This is quite a big challenge, but education on important topics and best practices seem to be of great importance here. Furthermore, it is important to create trust among stakeholders.

IGF 2020 OF #31 Safe digital spaces, a dialogue on countering cyberviolence

4 November 2020

This session on cyberviolence against women was set up by Web foundation, UN Women, and IT for Change. A Google Document was created to summarise this session.

Cyberviolence against women was discussed from different perspectives:

  • In India, there are gaps in criminal legislation regarding this subject. Misogyny is manifested in digital private places. There is a need for a feminist lens when making policies.
  • According to Facebook, blocking perpetrators does not always work in cases of domestic violence. Instead, the aim is to show ways in which different features can be used and how cases of misogyny can be reported.
  • Take Back the Tech aims to reclaim technology for pleasure and consent and stop online harm. The problem is that many personal attacks have political ties, targeting the freedom of expression.
  • A researcher stated that the research on this subject should consider multiplicity, multidisciplinarity, and be participatory and inclusive.
  • It also became clear that there should be a multi-stakeholder approach to trying to stop the continuum of violence online and offline.

During the Q&A, a discussion took place regarding best practices for content moderation and tech companies that focus on something else than content moderation. Furthermore, the question was raised how individuals can engage – through counter-speech (speak up and support), joining campaigns, driving discussion online, and reporting harassing content.

Cyberviolence against women

IGF 2020 OF #25 Freedom Online Coalition Open Forum

5 November 2020

During this session, a discussion took place regarding disinformation. Firstly, it was discussed why the Freedom Online Coalition (FOC) aims to act against disinformation. Disinformation is not a human rights violation or a crime, but it affects the enjoyment of human rights. There are worries about discrimination and stigmas.

Disinformation can also have implications for democracy, health, and minority groups. Currently, disinformation can spread faster and have a bigger reach. There is a need for access to accurate information. Education with regards to this subject is therefore important. It is an international, multi-stakeholder issue.

One of the panelists represented Facebook. She stated that Facebook’s aim is to let people connect safely. They use independent third-party fact-checkers in order to reduce, reform and, if needed, remove harmful content. Currently, disinformation regarding voting and that can lead to real-life harm is removed from the platform.

In these cases, safety overrules the freedom of expression. Furthermore, they aim to educate their users about disinformation. It is important to note that the protection of freedom of expression is deemed of great importance.

Then a discussion took place regarding the question of why the topic is so challenging to find agreement in. It is difficult to reach a consensus because it develops itself very quickly, within organisations but also among other stakeholders (novelty, scale, etc).

The more proactive role of the platforms is something that we have never seen before, which complicates this a bit as well. It is of great importance to comply with human rights legislation and try to find common ground among countries to limit these rights in a proportionate manner. The next step is to work further on FOC’s statement regarding disinformation and act forward with regards to that.

IGF sessions

IGF 2020 OF #28 Swiss Open Forum on Self-Determination in the Digital Space

6 November 2020

This session focussed on the debate regarding digital self-determination. Digital self-determination implies that citizens should have access to their data and have an understanding of how this affects them so that they can make a self-determined decision. It contains both an individual and a collective element. 

First, the use of data infrastructure in the energy sector was discussed. There is no platformisation yet, and the infrastructure for data exchange needs to be changed. Furthermore, the use of data starts playing a bigger role, such as through digital metering devices. There is a need for further development in the field.

After this, the legal aspects of digital self-determination were discussed. Users need to have access to and control of data (and they should be able to base their decisions on this). This “right” can be found in different laws and policies. Good examples are the COVID-19 tracing applications and electronic health records.

Digital self-determination depends on the user’s knowledge of data, which is not always the case. This can create issues. It is important to work on giving the users the possibility to make decisions regarding their data.

There is a strong link between awareness and platformisation. It is important to look broader than just regulation. The discussion about this has to be continued. Questions/tensions that still arise with regards to digital self-determination are the following:

  • Should it be based on a protective stance or empowerment?
  • Is it a conversation regarding technical infrastructure or human capacity-building?
  • Is it an individualist concept or a communitarian concept?
  • Is it a story about personal data or about data in general?

IGF 2020 OF #29 Global Encryption Coalition

6 November 2020

The Global Encryption Coalition (GEC) aims to protect encryption. Encryption allows us to communicate freely, it secures privacy and ensures safety. The argument of the GEC is that governments try to weaken encryption. Backdoors make encryption less secure. They argued that better communication between different stakeholders is important (also with governments). It is important to move away from the binary view.

IGF 2020 NRIs Collaborative Session: Digital rights and impact on democracy

6 November 2020

Digital rights are becoming more important, especially now that society moves online. Panelists from different national IGF’s spoke about digital rights. There is a need for best practices and enforcements of these best practices. It is important to focus on intellectual property as well – which was a part of the debate that different panelists had not focussed on before. There is a realisation that the Internet is no longer just leisure, it is much more important now.

It is essential for the functioning of society. The Internet has a big impact on both society and democracy. It has an impact on legislation and policy. Different rights need to be balanced, for which it is important to have courts and prosecutors be involved in this process as well. There is a key role of the Internet in strengthening both democracy and the economy. Cooperation is important.

A short discussion also took place on the topic of the impact that COVID-19 has had on digital rights. It caused citizens to become more aware of their digital rights. This was also caused by the realisation that the world will become more digital. The stream of disinformation is something that we also had to deal with during this time period. Governments have been trying to raise more awareness with regards to that.

By Daphne Stevens

Edited by Connie Siu M.H.

Introduction to IGF2020 and IGF Key Session Highlights by IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020 – Allan Ochola

Introduction to IGF2020 and IGF Key Session Highlights by IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020 – Allan Ochola

Introduction:

In recent years, the majority of countries have experienced positive growth and development of the internet. In order to expand and sustain the positive trends, countries need to prioritize investments in development and widespread use of the internet as a means of reducing the digital divide through multistakeholder approaches.

The hope is that increased multistakeholder engagements will translate into innovation or expanded knowledge, which would greatly assist to address the most pressing internet governance needs.

Coming at the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first phase of the 15th Annual IGF was hosted online with the support of the United Nations from 2-6th November 2020.

The primary goal of the forum which included pre-events, open forums, dynamic coalition sessions, NRIs, thematic introductory sessions, and the first-ever youth IGF 2020 summit was to develop strategies to increase Internet for human resilience and solidarity as part of the 2020 overarching theme, with special focus on developing people-centered approaches and ensuring inclusion in key internet governance conversations.

The forum also provided a platform to showcase the research and best practices taking place across the world, and provided a platform for various stakeholders to network. Some of the key issues were discussed under the thematic tracks of; Trust, Inclusion, Data, and Environment.

Key Session Highlights:

UNESCO’s launch of IGF Dynamic Coalition on Internet Universality ROAM-X Indicators and presentation of national assessments

The Session was opened by Guy Berger, who shared a presentation on improving the Net: Applying UNESCO’s Internet universality ROAM indicators for evidence-based policymaking. Through the session, we learned methodologies used in developing policy for internet universality indicators with Benin, Kenya, and Senegal having finalized their reports and are now available on the UNESCO website for download.

Speakers from Africa and the Asia Pacific and Arab states took to the floor to share their internet universality assessment reports with UNESCO offering to be a partner to implement their recommendations and policy gaps. The session also witnessed the launch of a dynamic coalition of internet universality indicators drawing speakers from the internet society, IGF secretariat and MAG Chair with a multistakeholder approach lauded as the key to its success. 

The final report is scheduled to be released at the next IGF and UNESCO is working to create a single portal where all data on internet universality indicators and assessments can be accessed.

Internet Society’s Collaborative Leadership Exchange (CLX)

The session was opened by Alejandra. She highlighted six key internet society projects which formed part of the webinar discussion points namely community networks, encryption, internet, and community development, the internet way of networking, security global routing and time security, and two topics of interest namely the future of IGF and the Internet and COVID-19.

The community network sessions highlighted the importance of the internet as being an essential and a part of our daily lives including connecting the unconnected as soon as possible. Challenges of regulator buy-in and communication infrastructures were highlighted as key impediments to the development of community networks.

Further, the need to develop different approaches to create community networks since there is no size fill all approach for ensuring reliable connectivity was highlighted.

The role of internet society and infrastructure and development in bringing the technical community both in academia and the private sector to discuss key issues and develop collaborative activities to develop access to information and connectivity was also underscored.

The need to organize national and regional forums where experts can share their expertise was also rooted.  The need and importance of encryption to protect privacy, information, and the right to online decent without government interventions were also elaborated.

Introduction to IGF2020 and IGF Key Session Highlights by IGF Youth Ambassadors 2020

Strengthening Implementation Capacities for AI Ethics

The session was led by UNESCO with participation from the technical community, academia, and civil society and discussed topics on how AI ethics principles can be translated into practice, what kind of human and institutional capacities are needed to govern a responsible and human-centered artificial intelligence.

The voice of the civil society emerged as an important step in filling the gaps in artificial intelligence innovation especially in developing protocols, pathways to an independent audit, and certifications of AI especially on the explainability of algorithms.

The role of open access and the future of AI was also articulated by the panelists. During the session, it also emerged that the multistakeholder process is in deep crisis especially among the political class who do not have the required digital, ecological, and cultural to create new smart governance mechanisms.

Developing new measures of success of AI that is a multidisciplinary and common language through dialogue to build ethics for AI was highlighted by the business community.

‘Continue the dialogue but move to action’ was the closing slogan.

 African Union Open Forum

The session was opened by the chair of AU MAG who briefed the participants on the preparations regarding the African IGF scheduled to take place at the end of November. The need to fast track the formation of an African parliamentary network supported by PRIDA was also highlighted to support Internet governance debate among the parliamentarians.

PRIDA has completed the development of the nation IGF toolkit to help countries set up their national IGF meetings and training content to help set up schools of internet governance. The AU committed to leverage on the Africa continental free trade agreement to transform and secure a digital single market by 2030 and ensure all people are digitally empowered and be able to access high-quality internet speed at a reduced cost through devices manufactured in the continent.

The Criticality of the Internet for SIDS in a global crisis

The session was held in a round table discussion bringing together various stakeholders to highlight the key role of the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic especially within the small islands developing states. Collaborative initiatives such as the Pacific IGF, Pacific women in ICT Pacific disability forum, were highlighted as practices that have emerged during the pandemic where discussions such as cybersecurity and other pacific specific issues are underway.

Indeed, the panelists acknowledged that COVID-19 played a key role in accelerating major ICT developments in the region while also highlighting gaps in meaningful connectivity, policy discussions in digital payments, and the development of digital local content.

The Digital transformation created by the pandemic was noted as the new way of life which should be embraced by the governments. Digital literacy and education to create competent class contributors to take a place in the evolving landscape were also discussed as a key pillar to ensuring the full benefits of ICT.

Personal Sovereignty: Digital Trust in the Algorithmic Age -Friday, 6 November 2020

The Session was led by IEEE with the aim of initiating conversations around creating online trustworthy experiences. The panelist highlighted the need to balance between personal sovereignty and privacy of data, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.

The role of GDPR in data protection was also highlighted as a means of protecting user data.  Access to personal data by the users was underscored as a means of ensuring trust.

Invisible risks regarding digital technologies need to be put forward for them to be addressed in order to preserve user dignity. The role of standards was highlighted as enablers of making best practices accessible to all different actors.

By Allan Ochola

Edited by Connie Siu M.H.

Youth SIG + YCIG sessions at the IGF2020

The Youth SIG in collaboration with the Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (YCIG) is going to host 3 workshops at the IGF2020. Read below the description of the sessions and save the date in your calendar!

WS #105 Designing inclusion policies in Internet Governance

Time and date: Monday 9 November at 12:10-13:40 UTC

Organizer 1: Mamadou Lo , DIPLO
Organizer 2: Eileen Cejas , Youth Observatory
Organizer 3: Juan Pajaro Velasquez, Ruta Trans
Organizer 4: Sevinj Aliyeva, Video Bilik; Beetech LLC
Organizer 5: Vallarie Wendy Yiega, Youth IGF

Speaker 1: Mamadou Lo , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 2: Eileen Cejas , Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Mohammand N. Azizi, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Meri Baghdasaryan, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 5: Debora Barletta, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: Juan Pajaro Velasquez, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC); Abdias Zambrano, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC).

Rapporteur: Vallarie Wendy Yiega, Civil Society, African Group.

Description:

The session will start with the short introduction of the speakers (20 minutes) where they will speak on key points of their countries’ region in terms of inclusion; followed by a group discussion in blocks regarding the 5 topics.

The discussion will include

1-. Gender perspectives impact on Internet matters related to policy drafting 

2- Techniques to include people from rural, indigenous and remote areas into digital literacy. 

3- Policy making processes centred around people with disabilities

4- Markets and Economic inequalities: when prices & taxes prevent people from being connected 

5- Governments & human rights: guaranteeing our digital rights to include more voices connected. 

After the presentation of each speaker, we will share a document where we will introduce 3 blocks with 2 topics (40 minutes). 

  1. Firstly, we will address the topic of “Gender perspectives in Internet Governance matters” and “Economic inequalities” where we will make 4 policy questions for each sub-theme; 
  2. then the second block we will discuss “the role of governments and human rights” and “digital literacy for marginalised communities”; 
  3. and the final block will be “analysing policies in disabilities matters” and a generally summary on “policy making processes in general” 

Once we finish the second segment of the session, we will continue with the collective design of the online campaign, using a mind map the last 20 minutes of the session.This mind map will help us to design the campaign and therefore produce the outcome some weeks after the IGF2020 . The online campaign will be extremely important to raise awareness on young people towards inclusion in Internet Governance.


WS #139 CopyLeft or Right? Mediating Interests in Academic Databases

Time and Date: 11 November 16:50-18:20 UTC

Organizer 1: Elnur Karimov, Internet Society Youth Special Interest Group (Youth Observatory)
Organizer 2: María Merchán-Rocamora, PhD candidate Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques de Paris
Organizer 3: Daniel Jr Dasig, De La Salle University Dasmarinas
Organizer 4: Pedro de Perdigão Lana, GEDAI/UFPR
Organizer 5: Kamalanetra A Hung Low, Pineapple Laboratories
Organizer 6: Shadrach Ankrah, Ghana IGF

Speaker 1: Vivian Moya, Government, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Mariana Valente, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 3: Thierry Nathanael Kopia , Civil Society, African Group
Speaker 4: Elnur Karimov, Civil Society, Eastern European Group

Moderator: Kamalanetra A Hung Low, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Online Moderator: Shadrach Ankrah, Technical Community, African Group
Rapporteur: Pedro de Perdigão Lana, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)

Description: Mediation (90 minutes) The mediation will begin with the moderator/mediator’s opening speech that will touch the challenges and possible solution models to the open and affordable access to academic databases posed by intellectual property rights of both database owners and authors. Then, the moderator will introduce the mediating parties (speakers in the list below). The presentation delivered by each speaker will focus on the interest in academic databases as a particular stakeholder group and their recommended solutions and will help the audience to better understand the expectations of mediating parties (speakers). The speakers will represent government, private sector, civil society and the youth’s approach to open academic databases. In particular, the session audience will have an opportunity to listen to the perspective of the private sector and state authority on copyright protection, Creative Commons organization, and the youth on open access to databases. The first two speeches will be followed by a Q&A session both with online and onsite audiences who will address their questions to the speakers and contribute to the mediation. During the Q&A session, the moderator, with the help of the rapporteur, will collect the common/similar solutions raised by the speakers. After the Q&A session, the moderator will speak about the common points identified. The mediation will follow the same structure with the remaining two speakers. Finally, the moderator will collect all common points and add them in a final document which will symbolically be called “A Resolution Agreement”. The session will continue with the symbolic signature ceremony of the agreement by parties which will reflect the agreed policy, and conclude with the moderator’s closing remarks. Distinctively, this session will introduce a solution-oriented approach by not only listening to the speakers from different interests but trying to mediate them to reach a deal. The session is nurtured from the practical advantages of mediation methodology, which means that by mediation the session will reach its purpose of finding tangible outputs on open databases that will serve the interests of all stakeholder groups. The methodology will make the speakers think more practical and solution-oriented. The moderator will play a key role in facilitating discussions and bringing the parties closer. The intended agenda of the session is as follows: Opening speech by Moderator/Mediator – 10 minutes The 1st Speaker (Private Sector) – 10 minutes The 2nd Speaker (Civil Society) – 10 minutes Q&A Session – 10 minutes Mediator’s Comments – 5 minutes The 3rd Speaker (Youth) – 10 minutes The 4th Speaker (Government) – 10 minutes Q&A Session – 10 minutes Mediator’s Comments – 5 minutes A Symbolic Ceremony of Signature of Resolution Agreement – 5 minutes Closing speech by Moderator/Mediator – 5 minutes


WS #273 Enhancing sustainable computing, production & consumption

Time and Date: 12 November 12:20-13:20 UTC

Organizer 1: Mohammad Atif Aleem, Youth Special Interest Group, Internet Society
Organizer 2: Emilia Zalewska, LegalTech Polska
Organizer 3: Jaewon Son, Korea Internet Governance Alliance
Organizer 4: Ashwin Reddy, 8FX
Organizer 5: Lily Edinam Botsyoe, Ghyrate Ghana

Speaker 1: Mohammad Atif Aleem, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 2: Chineyenwa Okoro Onu, Private Sector, African Group
Speaker 3: Daniel Jr Dasig, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Jaewon Son, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group

Moderator: Ece Vural, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Online Moderator: Lily Edinam Botsyoe, Technical Community, African Group
Rapporteur: Ashwin Reddy, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group

Description: Reports and analysis are to an increasing degree pointing at that Status quo in production will have serious consequences such as; environmental (deforestation, GHG emissions, biodiversity loss), economical (yield and productivity gaps, unpredictable and insufficient livelihoods for (smallholder) farmers) and societal (malnutrition, obesity). Furthermore, the burden and risk is un-evenly distributed in the value chain of food cycle. At the same time, growing conscious digital consumers with increasing demand for more advanced computing ways is trending at the moment. Following, to satisfy such growing requirement of sustainable computing, production and consumption and how it can undo the effects of Climate change and degradation of environment is a vital subject of discussion How can newer ways of computing and digital advances in production and consumption improving the life cycle of people and changing the course in the milieu of the 4th Industrial Revolution is what our panelists going to talk about and share their experiences in various fields where these changes were inevitable and vital. These are some issues on which the round table discussion will be centered upon and try to engage audience on the means of attaining sustainable growth enhancing production, consumption and computation capabilities from erudite speakers of different viewpoints and stakeholder groups.

We also strongly recommend participation in other sessions proposed and organized by young people and other youth organizations.

See you at IGF 2020!

Youth4DigitalSustainability: 12 recommendations from youth

As part of the #Youth4DigitalSustainability project, 50 experts under 30 from all parts of the world have developed twelve recommendations for the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the Internet. We are happy to say 5 of our Youth SIG board members have been involved in the process of creating the messages within the 4 Working Groups, including Lily Edinam Bostyoe, Juliana Novaes, Eileen Cejas, Elnur Karimov, and Mohammad Atif Aleem.

These are now presented to the United Nation’s Internet Governance Forum.

The Internet and digital technologies contribute significantly to global CO2 emissions, e-waste is a cross-border challenge and global inequalities are increasing. Digital policy and the climate crisis are two issues that particularly affect young people. Therefore, the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (GI) has called on young experts from Europe, Africa, Asia, North and South America to analyze the social, economic and ecological sustainability effects of digitization in the project #Youth4DigitalSustainability. The aim was to develop solutions that go beyond a purely German or European perspective.

Twelve concrete demands emerged from the working process, which lasted several months, in four working groups focusing on environment, economy, society and governance. Key aspects of these demands include environmentally friendly Internet access, circular economy, the inclusion of marginalized groups, and the democratization of the sustainability discourse. The complete paper is available to download.

These are the 12 recommendations:

  1. We should actively strive to mitigate the environmental impact of the Internet and ICTs. Both public and private stakeholders should strengthen collaboration by following a framework that allows for responsible growth, consumption of digital resources, and promotion of innovation;
  2. Promoting access to the Internet and other ICTs is inherently a matter of sustainability. If we want to connect the next billion, we must do so in an eco-friendly way, taking into consideration the significant environmental impacts that digitalization comprehends;
  3. The environmental impact of the Internet and ICTs must be communicated in an accessible and effective language. It’s important to compel stakeholders to action by framing the environmental crisis as an opportunity for change, while being based on scientifically accurate information;
  4. Businesses should champion diversity and sustainability by (1) hiring C-Suite representatives and/or consulting subject matter experts and (2) strengthening their commitment towards principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion and ecological digital infrastructure;
  5. Governments should offer economic incentives to businesses that commit to a circular economy model and Fair Trade standards, in order to re-imagine supply chains that discourage e-waste, and improve the quality of life of those residing in emerging economies;
  6. Businesses should create an open data environment to promote transparency. By acquiring user consent and anonymizing personal data, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to carbon neutral and humane practices that encourage behavioral changes in consumption practices;
  7. Youth accounts for one out of three active users of media content platforms. Such platforms need to assure youth representation in internal advisory bodies and self-regulation processes to improve on the decisions that affect this age group;
  8. Big Tech and other companies that produce Internet products and services should have more indigenous languages built into automated translation tools and technologies to help bridge the language barriers and Western cultural bias of the Internet;
  9. Women and gender diverse people are facing restrictions in accessing information on the Internet and participating meaningfully. To establish healthy and equal societies, youths should urge governments and civil societies to guarantee the rights to freedom of online expression for these communities;
  10. We urge states to pursue cross-border alliances in the governance of the Internet as a shared resource based on democratic ideals. Entities collecting and managing data should adopt alternative forms of data governance that grant individuals greater control over their data;
  11. Rules for AI and standards for ethical AI should be formulated through a multistakeholder approach rather than by technology companies. AI systems should be audited based on these rules by external parties for fairness and their working should be made transparent to the public;
  12. The companies that develop and sell AI systems should be held accountable for them and any entity that uses these systems should implement a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system throughout the lifetime of the system

Make sure to register to the “WS #231 Youth&Sustainability: Creating change through collaboration” and get to know more what activists and experts of environmental advocacy and Internet governance will deliberate on how digital sustainability can be mainstreamed in Internet governance discoursed, and where the movements for climate justice, and for the inclusive, open, and accessible Internet intersect. Link here

Source: https://yigf.de/news/12-youth-recommendations-for-a-sustainable-internet/

Youth Observatory report on the YouthLACIGF 2020

Youth Observatory report on the YouthLACIGF 2020

YouthLACIGF is an annual initiative that began in 2016 from the growing community of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean interested in being part of the dialogues that take place for the development of the Internet.

Youth4DigitalSustainability: 1-1 session + invitation to webinars

The Internet offers many opportunities for communication, development, and collaboration, but we can also acknowledge concerning environmental, social, and economic effects of digitality. Young people are at the forefront of advocacy for a more sustainable world, and have impact on policy development. For the UN Internet Governance Forum 2020, the Youth4DigitalSustainability Program wants to highlight the opportunities of digital sustainability and point the way forward.

The key policy topics that this program is concerned with are: Greening the Internet, Fair Digital Businesses, Internet for Social Good, and Sustainable Internet Governance. For each, a global working group is established in order to draft policy recommendations to be presented to decision-makers in the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, and the technical community.

Youth who are between 16 and 30 years of age from across the globe are part of these working groups and we are happy to inform that Lily Edinam Botsyoe (Secretary), Juliana Novaes (Global Engagement Director), Eileen Cejas (Regional Engagement Director-Latin America and the Caribbean region), Elnur Karimov (Regional Engagement Director- Eastern Europe region) and Mohammad Atif Aleem (Regional Engagement Director- Asia Pacific region) were selected for this program along with other active members of Youth Observatory also have been chosen to work in the above mentioned 4 working groups.

Young people in all world regions, with diverse backgrounds and levels of professional and academic experience are contributing through this interesting initiative.

On August 16, Elnur Karimov had a 1-1 online session with Elisabeth , organiser of the Youth4DigitalSustainability Program. You can watch the recording and read the slides here

Register in the links below to participate of the webinars:

Webinar 1: Greening the Internet

August 20, 2020; 4 PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3035337496791218702


Webinar 2: Fair Digital Businesses

August 27, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3106850832574131470

Webinar 3: Internet for Social Good

September 3, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/607881904476491022


Webinar 4: Sustainable Internet Governance

September 14, 2020, 4PM-5PM/16:00-17:00 CEST (Berlin Time)

Link: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/9118174471230220814

Youth SIG is part of the Global Citizens’ Dialogue in Argentina

The Youth SIG (also known as Youth Observatory) is participating at the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue as a National Strategic Partner for Argentina for the We The Internet. This initiative is launched by Missions Publiques, a high impact social entrepeneur founded in 1998 and localy boosted by our Regional Engagement Director for Latin America and the Caribbean region Eileen Cejas in Argentina.

We, The Internet is a two phases global event: first, there was the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue in June 2020, and the second phase is composed by the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, happening in October 2020.

Global Stakeholders Dialogue

At the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue, stakeholders from around the world participated in the deliberation regarding the three model of arquitecture of digital cooperation, which were picked by the High Level Panel in Digital Cooperation of the UN to be discussed by the global stakeholders. The second phase is composed by the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, happening in October 2020.

Photo updated by Paola Gálvez from Twitter: “#WetheInternet stakeholders’ dialogue last session has started to discuss about #digitalcooperation Glad to be here!!”

After the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue, the gathered recommendations made by the attendees of the event were compiled into a report, which was shared as one of the recommendations collected by the German government as part of the High Level Panel follow-up process. Moreover, the results of the event are part of the process for the Roadmap of Digital Cooperation issued by the UN Secretary General’s office.

Some of the recommendations collected at the Global Stakeholders’ Dialogue were:

1. A shift is required towards a hybrid architecture for the future of Digital Cooperation.
2. Providing the right resources in a fair way is key to impactful Digital Cooperation.
3. Improving effective inclusion must be at the heart of governance reform.
4. Greater coordination and cooperation is required between stakeholders and the different bodies.
5. Transparency and guidance are essential in navigating the complex system.
6. Trust must be established with transparent, fair coordination and effective, stable leadership.
7. The IGF+ needs to move from a discussion forum to a decision-making body.


Upcoming Global Citizens’ Dialogue

On October 10th and 11st of 2020, the Youth SIG in Argentina will host the local version of the Global Citizens’ Dialogue, where inhabits from all around Argentina will discuss these thematic areas:

-Internet and me

-Digital Identity

-Digital Public Sphere

-Artificial Intelligence

-Data Privacy

In order to introduce attendees into these themaric areas, the We The Internet Argentina team will facilitate an online introductory webinar (‘Conversatorio virtual’) on August 17. More details on registration are available here (only available for Argentina).

If you are from Argentina, you can check the We The Internet Argentina website for further details : www.wetheinternet.com.ar.


Other countries and organizations participating of this initiative:

Youth IGF Past Fellows

Youth IGF Past Fellows

IGF has always been the center of attraction amongst all the Internet Governance enthusiasts. We published a call on the blog asking the past fellows to share a photo of themselves as a Youth Fellow/Ambassador

YCIG at EuroDIG2020: Youth perspectives on the way forward in IG

Written by Mili Semlani and Meri Baghdasaryan (YCIG Steering Committee). This article was originally posted at YCIG’s website. You can find the original post here.

The youth DC session–Youth Coalition on Internet Governance enabled its Dynamic Coalition members and partners to express and exchange views on the current state of affairs in the field of youth participation in the Internet Governance ecosystem at the pre event session hosted at EuroDIG 2020. 

The session explored some of the European initiatives that have been launched to enhance youth participation in internet governance after Youth IGF Summit held in Berlin in 2019. And it was aimed at creating synergies and finding common topics among regional youth movements and initiatives to conduct capacity enhancement projects and much more.

Developments after Youth IGF Summit 2019 

Carrying forward from the YCIG session at IGF in 2019, Elisabeth Schauermann, YouthDIG/ Youth IGF Summit 2019 reflected on the first ever Youth IGF Summit at Berlin in 2019 that was supported by last year’s IGF country host Germany. As a pre event to IGF 2019, it was an effective platform where youth from all over the world came together to share their messages.

While it was successful, the efforts did not just stop there. Youth participation should anchor all public policy and for this it is important to enable youth with necessary support and resources to participate in internet governance and policy making.

Further, Nika Bakhsoliani, Member of Advisory council on youth, Council of Europe and member of COVID-19 task force of the joint council, highlighted the importance of understanding the concept of meaningful youth participation, which entails that the youth has the necessary means, opportunities and space to participate in and influence decision making processes. Speaking of the effects of COVID-19 pandemic, Nika mentioned that the ongoing issues have been exacerbated, particularly affecting the marginalized youth and youth organisations. 

National Youth IGF movements

Veronica Birindelli, Youth IGF Italy and Joao Pedro Martins, Lusophone Youth IGF, Portugal; spoke about how to start Youth IGFs in their respective countries. While Portugal worked with other Portuguese speaking countries to reach out to a larger crowd, Italy worked with grassroots organisations and went from a 3-people team to a larger community. 

In addition to bringing in computer science students and tech enthusiasts, yIGF organisers also felt the need to speak to young people about the other issues like online safety, etc. that affect everyone in their own way. 

They also suggested that greater synergies amongst youth IGF initiatives across the world will be helpful so they can share content, topics, support etc. Being listed as an official youth initiative on IGF’s website is also helpful in gaining credibility. 

Being a part of youth IGFs enables youth to better engage at IGF main events. It also facilitates collaboration and building independent youth communities also facilitates adding real messages to the global debate.

The way forward

Noha Ashraf, YCIG steering committee member, presented the YCIG questionnaire which saw a greater need for not only tech related topics but also cross cutting ones like interaction of human rights with technology. 

Elnur Karimov,  EEG Regional Engagement Director for Youth Observatory shared his views on Youth Observatory’s (Youth SIG) growing global presence. In 2019, Youth Observatory (YouthSIG) had projects like Creative Networks which was a project competition where the winners attended IGF 2019 and Youth Atlas which highlighted engaged youth in IG from all over the world. Elnur also pointed out current engagement activities for Youth Observatory members like the Regional Activities.

In short,  it goes without saying that youth has a lot to offer to the Internet Governance ecosystem, from organising the first ever global Youth IGF Summit and  initiating national youth IGF movements to bringing the youth perspective and coming up with solutions to such unprecedented issues such as COVID-19 pandemic, together with different stakeholders. 

With COVID-19 pandemic still underway, the community strives to continue working towards enhancement of youth participation in the Internet Governance ecosystem, advance the capacity building programs and initiatives and bring the youth voice to the global discussions and processes. 

Therefore, in order to create synergies between various youth movements all over the globe, we need to define the common goals for these youth initiatives/movements and deliberate upon which formats, tools and frameworks can be applied for reaching these goals. Share with us your opinion in the comments. 

You may access the recording of the full YCIG session here

Written by Mili Semlani and Meri Baghdasaryan (YCIG Steering Committee). This article was originally posted at YCIG’s website. You can find the original post here.